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The 2015 Challenge Starts June 1, 2015.

This FAQ will be updated in March 2015.

For a fun set of prompts, try the 65+ Daily Paper Prompts


Welcome to the 2014 Index-Card-A-Day Challenge

The challenge is about the DOING and not the KEEPING or PRESERVING or ARCHIVING. It is the process of creating each day that matters.



Go buy a pack of index cards. 

♥ draw ♥ doodle ♥ write ♥ collage ♥ paint ♥ haiku ♥ stamp ♥ stitch ♥

ONE INDEX card each day


61 DAYS : 61 CARDS


2014 Index-Card-a-Day

 June 1 to July 31, 2014

 {You do not need to catch up, just start}   

What do I do to start?

Starting on June 1st, create something on a 3x5" index card every day for 61 days. If you start after June 1 you do not need to catch up, just start. You can do more at the end if you wish. But get going, that is what is important.

Just index cards.

[if you are reading in a feed reader, click to read the full post]

Simple materials push you to think in new ways. 

Do we have to use index cards?

The short answer is YES. That's the whole point. Trust me. I love watercolor paper and I understand the difference in paper quality. I get it. But this is simple stuff. Not precious. Just a stack of cards on your desk or kitchen counter. Grab one, create. I suggest 3x5" index cards or index card dividers {these are made out of manila folder type paper}. Maximum size = 4" x 6"

Why index cards? We use index cards specifically because they are cheap, not precious, and definitely "not" the perfect substrate. They are abundant, and thus we do not hesitate to pitch them when the work turns into a catastrophe. Over the years I've had many questions about doing the challenge on another substrate. For example, people have asked if they can cut watercolor paper to size, do digital index cards in photoshop, use vintage library cards, use glossy postcards, old B&W photographs, tourist postcards, gelatin prints etc. All of these would indeed make for fun projects! They simply aren't index cards;} If you want to do index-card-a-day, use index cards. Generally here is where the line is drawn. 1) The cards should have the feel of index cards {basic office supplies - and there are many types of index cards - plain paper, lined, gridded, neon, cards that feel like manilla folders, rolodex-style cards with holes punched}. 2) The blank cards should not be precious or dear to you. The freedom to take chances in your creative work, and the constraint of very basic paper.... part of the challenge.

If you want to do index-card-a-day, use index cards. 

Index cards are cheap.

How does it work?

Each day, I'll post an index card creation.
Each week I'll post a list of 100% optional prompts.
Each day, you create art on an index card. 

Why do this challenge?

Each individual index card creation represents a conscious choice by one person to do one creative thing over the course of one typical day. A choice to infuse life with art and creativity, one step at a time, one card at a time. The challenge is a creative kick that can spark your imagination. There are 1000's of cards completed each year. The creative energy just might change your life. But you won't know unless you try. 

Should we prepare our index cards in advance?

The challenge is to create art on an index card for 61 days straight. So if you want to create abstract "backgrounds" or prep your cards for the mediums/ideas that you plan to do, go for it. It is important for the newbies to know that this is NOT required. There is no secret to ICAD other than getting a stack of index cards, some materials of your choice, and creating something on a card each day. It is not a competition. It is an endeavor, a goal, a challenge. If you choose to set up some cards with a smear of acrylic paint or gesso so that {later} you can write a quote, that is OK!

How can I prepare for the challenge?

You can definitely go into this challenge without any thought or preparation other than having some index cards, markers and a positive attitude! You can wing it! You attitude will be your most important preparation and tool throughout the challenge. That said, if you feel like it, consider what you want to use the challenge to explore something in particular. A topic, a medium, a technique?

Are there any warm-up exercises?

Yes! As a matter of fact we do have warm-ups so that our creative muscles are in good shape when we start the challenge. As each warm-up is launched, the link will be functional. The warm-ups are 100% OPTIONAL and can be done any time before the challenge starts, or even DURING the challenge if you need to get your mind in the mood to create. 

Creative Warm-Up Exercise #1
Creative Warm-Up Exercise #2
Creative Warm-Up Exercise #3
Creative Warm-Up Exercise #4
Creative Warm-Up Exercise #5

Can kids do the challenge?

Yes! See Index-Card-a-Day: Kid Version.

Can I make a bunch of cards instead of one-a-day?

The spirit of the challenge is to create one card each day. So if you want to do the ICAD challenge, set your sights on an index-card-a-day. A little art each day works to instill new creative habits.

Can I make an extra card or two, for the days I can't do art?

Some folks create an extra card so that if there is a day that they are unable to do a card then there is an emergency back-up procedure. But I will mention that I've created cards cards while on an airplaine, in a hotel room, in a hotel lobby, at an auto repair shop, waiting for my daughters, at the symphony while musicians were tuning up, while the kids were swimming, at the beauty salon, while dinner cooked, in the waiting room at the doctor's office, etc.

Definitely keep a few cards in your backpack or purse along with a few markers. If nothing else, find a pattern to draw or a font to emulate! Even if you have a comic series going {say... a cartoon about a kangaroo named Brady who gets trapped in a....} anyhow, even in the middle of a series, if you find yourself at the car repair shop, you can draw a pattern instead of working on your series. It's still a card and it's still creativity. BE FLEXIBLE.

What should I do with my cards when ICAD is finished?

Stack them up and take a photograph! What matters is NOT collecting a bunch of index card creations but that daily bit of creativity on a blank canvas which is not precious. You will eventually find a purpose for your cards. You can give your cards as gifts, use them for art journal collage fodder, make a huge inspiration wall with your cards, sew them into a quilt, file them in a collaged recipe box, put them in a binder or photo album, mail them to friends. Or poke holes in your ICADs and place them on a huge metal jump ring. I promise that you don't need to know what you'll do with your cards. We don't need to know what we will do with our art. It is the EXPERIENCE that makes the difference, not the stack of cards. 

3x5" index card, neocolors

Why do we use 3x5" or 4x6" index cards?

It's a perfect size for experimentation.
Index cards are a basic material found in any office supply store.
The small size of the canvas can inpire ideas. 
You can incorporate the lines on the card in your creation. Or ignore the lines. Or work on the back.
Anything goes. Paint it with acrylic paints. Drip india ink on it. Dye the card with espresso. Practice origami folds. Stitch it. Sketch on it. Doodle on it. Stamp it. Collage it. Or cut up the card and weave the pieces back together. Document your paint collection. 

The index cards are part of the challenge.

Are there prompts?

Yes. There are two types of prompts. I call them THEMES and PROMPTS. More on that a bit further down this page. These are 100% optional. About half of the participants have historically followed the prompts. Prompts are posted Fridays starting May 30 for 9 weeks. Mix and match prompts as you wish. I'll share ideas and inspiration along the way. More on prompts further down the page!

What resources does Daisy Yellow provide?

  • Each day of the challenge, I post an index card.
  • Each week of the challenge, I post a Mister Linky for you to add a link to one of your cards.
  • Each week I post a set of 100% optional themes + prompts
  • Guest posts from artists around the globe.
  • A Daisy Yellow Flickr group where you can post your art.
  • A Daisy Yellow ICAD Facebook group dedicated to the challenge. ☜ closed!
  • Ideas, ideas, ideas. And also some ideas.

Can I help spread the ICAD Love?

Please spread the word across the globe by tweeting, blogging about the challenge, posting a link on your FB page, etc. Talk about what it means to you, how you approach the challenge, why you do it, why index cards are important, how it has changed your creative life, why it makes you happy. 

Motivate challengers by being an art cheerleader. Leave comments on other people's work at Flickr and FB. Leave blog comments. FAV stuff at Flickr. ♥︎ stuff at Tumblr and Instagram. Talk about your experience. Like stuff at FB. Be a cheerleader. ICAD develops into the best kind of crazy! The fanfare spurs everyone on to keep going toward the goal. 

Where should I link my blog posts?

Are there hashtags?

On twitter + instagram + tumblr + facebook use #icad or #icad2014. On flickr tag your artwork icad or icad2014

What about Prompts?

There are two types of prompts for the challenge. You can read more about the use of prompts and constraints as part of the index-card-a-day challenge. 

When do you Post the Aforementioned Prompts?

Check out the handy 2014 ICAD Posting Schedule.

2014 Optional Weekly Themes {Posted Every Three Fridays}
Themes refer to the medium, color palette or technique. There will be translations into French, Italian, German, Swedish and Polish.

Weeks 1 + 2 + 3
Weeks 4 + 5 + 6
Weeks 7 + 8 + 9 

2014 Optional Weekly Prompts {Posted Fridays}
Prompts refer to the topic or content of your index cards. There will be translations into French, Italian, German, Swedish & Polish.

Week 1: June 1
Week 2: June 8
Week 3: June 15
Week 4: June 22
Week 5: June 28
Week 6: July 5
Week 7: July 12
Week 8: July 19
Week 9: July 26

Mediums? Themes?

Anything you want. Stitch, paint, draw, drip, stain, weave, fold, cut, collage, ink, acrylic, watercolor. You are limited only by your imagination. If you like series, you could do a series each week or every two weeks or every month. Like neocolors in week one, acrylics in week two, cartoons in week three. Totally up to you!

Are the Prompts and Themes translated into other languages, by chance? 

Yes! Thanks to our highly sophisticated team of volunteer translators, the prompts and themes will be translated into French, Italian, Swedish, Polish and German. The translations will be on the same page as the original prompts. Coming in the weeks ahead.

Is there a fancy badge for my blog?

Yes, get a 2014 ICAD badge for your blog sidebar. 

Where should we post our index cards?

We want to see all of your index cards! There are several spots to post your cards. 

Add your index cards to the Daisy Yellow Flickr Group

Add your index cards to the Daisy Yellow ICAD Facebook Group. After ICAD ends, join the Daisy Yellow FB group to stay in the loop. 

How did the index-card-a-day challenge start?

I started index-card-a-day in 2011 on a whim. I was sitting in a cafe and wanted to draw. I happened to have a stack of index cards in the pocket of my backpack and drew some mandalas. I thought that it might be fun to draw a bunch of cards over the course of the summer.

Trivia: ICAD went for 92 days in 2011, 61 days in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 we'll do 61 days.

Each year, I create index cards along with everyone else and I post every single card to Daisy Yellow. So each day you can pop over for some inspiration. And once again, we'll have guest index card creators each week. 

What does it cost?

ICAD is FREE. If you find value in this challenge, I'd love it if you contributed to Tammy's "tip jar" {you can find it on the top right side of the blog, in orange} to help fund the overhead costs of running Daisy Yellow including blog hosting, website fees and... most importantly... coffee & scones. Contributions are appreciated. 

How Do I Register?

Good news! There's no registration of any sort! Just follow the blog posts and create a card each day starting June 1st. You can participate by sharing your cards {see below} in one of the online groups. I'll also have a Mister Linky on the first day and random days throughout the challenge, where you can link-up your blog or flickr photostream. 

How do I get updates in my feed reader?

There are two separate feeds for Daisy Yellow. Feed #1 provides all of the regular blog posts. Feed #2 provides only posts in the prompts/index-card-a-day section of the blog. My guess is that you will want both feeds if you are doing ICAD. 

Subscribe via any feed reader.

Feed #1. Copy/paste this link in your feed reader search box:

Feed #2. Copy/paste this link in your feed reader search box:

Subscribe via Bloglovin {a feed reader}

Feed #1:

Follow on Bloglovin

Feed #2:

Follow ICAD on Bloglovin

Subscribe via email.

Feed #1. Subscribe to daisy yellow blog updates by email

Feed #2. Subscribe to daisy yellow icad and prompt updates by email

Are there resources for making index card artwork?

Thoughts on preparing for the challenge
A zillion things you can do with an index card

Can I post the ICAD prompts + Tammy's index cards to my blog?

No. Please don't. This is the 4th year of the challenge and I've learned a lot about keeping it organized! The process works better if there are not a lot of repeated + intersecting posts. I know that you are excited to share the fun, and the best way to do that is to hop around and say hello and cheer each other on... and post your work at your blog, Instagram, Flickr or FB to inspire others.


Nothing vulgar, nothing that would make folks say "ewwwwww" or cringe. The challenge is family friendly.Kids are welcome to join the challenge and yes, you can post your kids' cards on the Flickr or FB groups, just tag them #kidart. Over the years many kids have participated in the challenge. Please do not to "push" them to create one a day, keep it fun. Also, the size limit for index cards is 4x6" and actual index cards must be used.

PLEASE DO NOT copy/paste the prompts or Tammy's index cards to your blog or website or distribute in paper or electronic format. The challenge is a labor of love but the content and copyright are that of Daisy Yellow.

I have spent an incredible amount of creative energy designing and nurturing the challenge, responding to questions, developing examples, etc. and ask that you respect my ideas and copyrights. Do not copy the concept, content, prompts etc. or my index card art. This is simply WRONG.

Design, content and images © 2011-2014 Tammy Garcia.

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Reader Comments (33)

Remember...index cards without lines are available at most office supply stores! Then you don't have to ignore the lines!

05.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

I hope I can keep up with this challenge, it sound inspiring! I featured this post in my Friday's Fave!

05.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Kinglseigh

I'll start tomorrow - it hit me this morning {May 31st} that I should look this up for 2013. Glad I did! THANK YOU!

05.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarti Schrock

I don't have a blog and wouldn't call myself an artist in the least, but I enjoy creating and this sounds like an awesome doable challenge! Thank you for your hard work putting it together. Off to round up some index cards!!! :) :)

05.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I am not an artist either. But I do enjoy experimenting with colored pencils etc. I look forward to the challenge.

05.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarlene

This sounds great fun and something different for me, as I am mostly a textile artist. How can I put that ICAD image onto my blog please?

06.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Linton

This sounds like so much fun and perhaps just what I need to get my creative juices flowing. Excited to go out and buy my index cards!

06.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRita

Hey Tammy, is there a code I can use to put a button on my blog if people want to hop over here?

06.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren B

Just posted a link to this FAQ in my posting of card #1.

I'm really excited to be playing along with this. It's such a great idea. Thanks for the "Challenge" (and I can't wait to see what you come up with this year)!

06.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCrafty Madre

This sounds fun, I d like to join in. Can we post our own cards on our blog without copying the prompts

Suzy x

06.2.2013 | Unregistered Commentersuzy

Got started yesterday. I had so much fun last year. Thanks Tammy for all the awesome prompts and work you do.

06.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkatie romo

OK I'm in! This seems like a fun easy way to spark some creativity in my life. I am new to doing arty stuff so this seems like a do-able size "canvas" for a newbie like me!

06.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaryl

Found you via Aimee at Atrsyville. Love this for a daily exercise !

06.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

I'd love to do this - how do I join?

06.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Is there any place I need to sign up or do I just start and then post? This looks so fun. A friend is doing it and it encouraged me. Thanks.

06.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaryLou Rupp

I LOVE this idea! You are fantastic!

06.20.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJo

This is so much fun! Such a challenge for me since 98% of what I do is digital. I am having a blast with paper and glue, even tried my hand at zentagles and printing.

Here's a link to my set of cards so far.

06.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Gibbons

Wow! I just found this post today, the last day of June. But that's ok. I'm going to start today. I love these challenges that make me carve out time to just create. Thanks!

06.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNannypie

Just found this, how cool! I've been writing a haiku a day and posting on my blog the Art Prescription for a year and seven months. I'm going to have to get some index cards for some haikus. It has been so rewarding and I couldn't dream of missing a day! Come by and visit

07.27.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly Dyer

Today is August 24th and I just found this index card project ! Is it to late to sign up? I do I sign up?

Brenda, The challenge will begin again on June 1, 2014. Until then, we're starting a new set of prompts called the Daily Paper Prompts. Learn more here --->

08.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda Deno-Sims

I'm ready for ICAD 2014~~ Grabbed an image for my blog (Arty Auntie ); touted in Artful Mail Groupies (( (recruiting for you!). Can't wait. I'm all set!

04.2.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBetty R

I just noticed your announcement for 2014 I cad challenge. I can't wait to begin. I have been part kenneling for the past few months and am completely addicted. This will be a nice little addition to doing that. Love the idea of it being so portable and convenient.

04.5.2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Weaver

I haven't participated in this yet other years, but I am very excited for it this year! I even got out a few index cards to play around with since I was feeling inspired. :)

04.15.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa

This sounds like a lot of fun, and exactly my cup of tea! Hmmmm...tea dying might be something fun to try on an index card LOL! I've got loads of index cards in all colours sitting in my desk, - this would be a great way to actually do something with some of them. I think I might go get some right now to play with...I'm feeling inspired!

04.18.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen

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